Veterinarians, Emergency Responders Train for Livestock Disease Outbreak

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email


Livestock Emergency Disease
Response System

2012 Meeting Information


State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes says Nebraska officials began to realize that making animal disease response a part of homeland security efforts was critical in 2001 after foot and mouth disease broke out in the UK and a pseudorabies virus outbreak occurred in Nebraska.

"Then of course the events of 9/11 brought to the forefront the realities of the potential of a foreign animal disease, or an agriterrorist event, that could endanger our number one industry - that being livestock," says Hughes.

A decade later Hughes says over 180 veterinarians have become a part of the Livestock Emergency Disease Response System known as LEDRS.

"By having the LEDRS program, by having the ability for a quick response, to be able to mitigate, to control the incident, plays a very important part in instilling that confidence and security of food safety in our citizens," says Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy.

This year's annual training continued with an exercise in cleaning and disinfecting vehicles and equipment leaving an outbreak site.

Emergency Coordinator Tom Jensen, also the Chief Administrator for the Department of Ag, says training vets - who will likely respond first to a livestock incident - is vital.

"In the event of a larger outbreak we would need a lot of resources and so these people will be part of that Corps that would give this type of training," says Jensen. "It's kind of a train the trainer type of deal for us."

And while more help will be coming, officials say having LEDRS be the lead entity will mean better and faster containment.

"We talk about hours, hopefully trying to respond as quickly as possible, and not days or weeks," says Hughes.

And the Department of Ag says they're still looking for more veterinarians to get involved in the future.

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